Friday, July 29, 2005

Book suggestion for those dealing with other countries

From time to time, I have taught Global Management classes for the University of Phoenix. The class I did the most, and enjoyed the most, was called Internal Environment of Global Business. The focus of this class was on how to deal with internationalization within your company. It covered things like different HR requirements in the world, how to work with different cultures within your company, how to work with different cultures when they are outside of your company (such as partners, JVs, etc.), etc.

The course talks about different ways to look at cultural difference, but could no go into specific differences between cultures. For that, I recommended that the students get a book called Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands by Terri Morrison, Wayne Conaway, and George Borden. This book covers the cultural and business differences between America and 60 countries. Each country is covered in a separate chapter, making this an excellent reference book. I have found the book to be good enough that I actually own 2 copies.

Interesting, I am not authorized to teach any classes at UOP right now. They changed the International MBA program such that the classes I was approved to teach are no longer in the curriculum. I have gone through the process to be approved for an International Marketing class, but my paperwork seems to have been lost somewhere. It was approved by the local dean, and then sent to Phoenix for approval there, but seems to have disappeared. So I won't be teaching any classes in the near future.

For convenience, I have added a link to this book on

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Being an Expat

I received a phone call from a guy looking for advice. Free advice can be fun to give, particularly when doing so brings back good memories.

His company was buying a company in Korea and offered him a position managing it (based in Korea). He Googled some terms, and found my personal web site ( and my Blogs from when I lived there.

Ah, Korea. Had some of the best times of my life while there, but also some of the worst. But overall it was a great experience for me. Enough so that I would love to live in another country again.

This guy has quite a few steps up from me when I went to Korea. He is Korean, but moved from there to the States when he was a teen. He has traveled to Korea many times and still has family there, but he is very Americanized, so wasn't sure what to expect about living and working in Korea. And he also wanted to know about what an expat package would be like.

Expat packages are expensive for a company. Here is a web site that talks about the basics of what is usually offered - (this page is for Singapore, so any prices listed are specific to there and in Singapore dollars, but the basic data all holds true). One concern he had was whether his company would be willing to pay for it, or if they even are ready for what it would cost.

When I was in Korea, I figured that it cost my company an additional $100k for sending there (as compared to what it would have cost if I was working in the States). And I was cheap - I chose a relatively inexpensive apartment, didn't get a car, etc., all of which were offered to me. I had heard that $250k a year as the cost for expats is not uncommon.

We talked about some ways to cut the costs down (a big one would be to not live in a westernized house or apartment, which are always overpriced, but instead live as a Korean would).

Also talked about differences between the Korean business culture and the American business culture. Even though he is well exposed to Korean culture, Korean business culture seems very different. Among the advice I gave him was to read a book called The Koreans by Michael Breen. Excellent book for anyone who works with Koreans and wants to better understand who they are and why they do what they do.

I hope it all works out for him.

Leads or not?

A client of mine has a small company that sells a consumer food product. On the web site, there is an offer for free samples. For many months, they would get a few requests for a free sample every week. But recently, they started receiving hundreds of responses. This surprised them and prompted a call to me.

The first thing I recommended was contact some and find out how they heard about the offer. From this, we found out that a web site that lists free offers has picked up on her offer.

This made me worry, as a while back another client had a sweepstakes listed on their web site to win a Palm Pilot. A sweepstakes site found out about this, and listed this. The goal of the sweepstakes was to get leads, and the folks who came from the sweepstakes web site were not potential users of the software product. At that time, the sweepstakes web site listed the direct URL for the sweepstakes offer (not the home page), so we were able to simply rename the URL ( to, and the link from the sweepstakes site was broken. My first thought was that we might want to do this here.

The goal of the free sample offer is to also get leads. In looking at the names coming in and information provided, it seems that the requests for the free offer could be good leads. So now the challenge is how to arrange it so they can handle this influx of leads, as previously there were so few they did it by hand. Now they are setting up a simple database to handle the information. Along with that, they will track to see if any of these folks go from sample requester to product purchaser.

In addition, we are watching to see if the number of requests slows down. If not, we will likely change their sample request process to one involving an online database (like MySQL), which will allow them to transfer data directly to their PC database, further automating the process.